After winning Mid-State Conference and sectional titles this past season, seniors on the Greenwood girls basketball team were missing only one trophy: the one for the Johnson County championship.
They aren’t missing it anymore.
The host Class 4A No. 6 Woodmen, playing in their third-straight county final, beat Center Grove 55-48 in Saturday’s title game.
With the victory, the Woodmen claimed their first county championship since 2007.
“This is the one tournament, the one portion of the trifecta, that this senior class hasn’t been able to finish out,” Woodmen coach Debbie Guckenberger said. “So I think more than anything, they’ve won a conference, and they’ve won a sectional.
“A sectional still outweighs anything, but I feel like they just really wanted to accomplish this before they graduated.”
Saturday marked the third-straight time in the past year that Greenwood (4-0) and Center Grove (4-1) were dueling for championships. The Trojans beat Greenwood in this past year’s county tournament, but the Woodmen avenged the disappointment by knocking Center Grove out of the sectional.
Winning Saturday’s county tournament in many ways brought everything full-circle for Woodmen players who took part in this past year’s clashes.
“We got them in sectionals,” senior Deuna Evans said. “We knew that they would be trying to go hard, get the ball and win. And we just knew that we had some revenge to get, as well.”
Guckenberger had a feeling the game was going to be close, and she was right.
“The last half a dozen times we’ve played, it’s been down to the wire,” she said. “It’s just become one of those cross-town rivalries, I guess.”
Apart from the last 1:09 of the game, Saturday’s final couldn’t have been much closer.
The game had nine ties and 15 lead changes, and neither team enjoyed a lead larger than four points until the end.
With the score tied at 48-48 with 1:09 left, Greenwood senior Jordan Unversaw stole the ball and drove to the basket on a fastbreak. As she went up for a layup, she drew an intentional foul from Center Grove sophomore Regan Wentland. Unversaw made two free throws, the first of seven collectively by the Woodmen down the stretch to seal the win.
For the night, Greenwood made 26 of 29 free throws. All five Woodmen starters shoot 80 percent or better from the foul line on the season, Guckenberger said. The efficiency played a critical role in the final.
“We wanted to really try for county and hopefully continue on,” Unversaw said. “So county is our first step.”
Center Grove attempted 16 fewer free throws than Greenwood and made only 2 of 3 in the second half.
“We have to be more aggressive going to the basket, playing through contact,” said Trojans coach Shawn Sanders, who drew a technical foul in the third quarter for tossing a plastic bottle near Center Grove’s bench. “I thought that was the stat of the night.”
More than half the Trojans’ field-goal attempts came from behind the 3-point line. They made 8 of 22.
Center Grove senior Lauren Weidman made 5 of 6 3-pointers and scored a team-high 20 points.
“Lauren Weidman played unbelievable,” Sanders said. “I could not be happier. That’s a senior captain stepping up big.”
Evans scored 19 points for the Woodmen. Freshman teammate Holly Hoopingarner had nine points and 10 rebounds, and senior Kelsie Ratliff added nine points and six rebounds.
Franklin beat Edinburgh 63-19 for fifth place, and Indian Creek defeated Whiteland 66-34 to take third.
Greenwood opens Mid-State Conference play at home Wednesday against Plainfield.
Center Grove plays at Decatur Central at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.